Tech Twins Talk Tech With Peak Careers

The Tech Twins were honored to have a discussion with Jim Peacock of Peak Careers. We talked about “Must Have Technology tools,” as well as go-to resources we use, and even highlight some tips for preventing, minimizing, and combatting tech stress. Watch the Video:

For more info on the tools we mention, links are here. Loved talking with each other and with Jim, and it gives a sneak preview of some of what we’ll be sharing at NCDA.

Tech Twins at NCDA 2021!

The Tech Twins are very excited to share that we will be presenting live at the 2021 NCDA conference! What would have been a pre-recorded demo of different tools and techniques will now be an experiential time together! We’ll present of what we’ve discovered this past year that has worked well in our classes, and have a time for participants to try out these tools while also sharing what’s worked for them. A mutual learning experience! Hope you’re able to join us. Click here to register!

Orienting Your Audience to Zoom Features

So many of us have been teaching via Zoom for so long that we may assume that everyone is familiar with Zoom and all of its features. Whether providing a workshop or teaching a class, it’s definitely a good idea to have familiarize participants with the tools that will be needed prior to launching into the presentation.

Here’s an example of a slide after my title and agenda slides:

So worth it to have everyone feel competent (and hopefully excited going into the presentation). I may not use all of these in a workshop, so would edit the slide as need be. Part of my rationale for using these different tools is definitely audience engagement, but I also want participants to leave their time with me having an extra bonus they didn’t realize they were getting, i.e., some cool new tech tools that they can use to improve their own presentations! Plus, if you have them in breakout rooms for even a couple of minutes, they’ll leave the presentation with an increased network.

If you think of it as a warmup activity, you’ll start your presentation with an engaged audience. So you could have a practice slide that has the agenda on it and ask them to mark on the agenda which of the items they are most excited about. They can use the stamp button or a text or make their mark. On that same slide, you might have a poll pre-prepared with the agenda items on them so they can practice voting. You could then have them move to breakout rooms for a 2 minute meet&greet and to come up with one more item they are interested in talking about, and when they come back, have them write their ideas in the chat.

If you want to entertain questions throughout the presentation, you’ll want to set up the rules for that, especially with a larger group. If I have a large group, I’ll typically ask someone to monitor the chat for me and let me know if a question comes in that way. I’ll also make sure to make a note in my notes at the end of every couple of slides to pause for and ask for questions.

Teaching about technology isn’t usually the focus of any of my presentations, so I wouldn’t ever do all of the activities on the slide above. However, I deeply desire for my participants to feel like the material I’m sharing is of value to them, and believe that if they can take the content I’m sharing and integrate it with their own experiences, they’ll learn something of value, and when they share that knowledge with the group, in turn, we all will.

Create a Branding Statement: 10 Questions and a Formula.

Branding relates directly to story – and personal story is something career practitioners are all about. The ability to succinctly articulate what one does and for whom is at the heart of not only branding, but vocational identity. We can help our clients clarify what solutions they offer to a potential employer through developing a branding statement. The questions below can help guide that process:

  1. What problem(s) can you solve and for whom?
  2. Why do you want to solve that problem?
  3. What message would you like to share?
  4. How would you describe your personality?
  5. How do people feel after working with you?
  6. How are you unique?
  7. Why do people trust you?
  8. What’s your story?
  9. Five words that describe you? Five words others would use to describe you?
  10. What are brands you admire? Why?

Certainly, there are additional questions out there that can stimulate thinking about branding, but these 10 should get the creative juices started. At the core, attempt to answer this question: What problem(s) can I solve and for whom? To help with this, try to complete the following formula:

FORMULA: I help ______________ do ____________________.

Some examples:

“I help high school students translate their dreams into reality.”

“Training the technologically timid.”

Challenge and a Question: Try your hand at writing a branding statement. If you get stuck, look over your resume, your calendar, your commitments and what they suggest about your brand. Questions: Do you like what it suggests? Is a change warranted? How does having a branding statement impact how you see yourself and opportunities around you?

What’s up with QR codes?

What are QR codes? According to that all knowing source, Wikipedia, QR codes are defined as “a type of matrix barcode first designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.” Usually, it looks like a box (although it could be a different shape) with black/white dots, lines and squares in it.

Aren’t they old school? Just a fad? Several years ago, I (Deb) was teaching a technology and counseling course, and showed my students how to create a QR code as the new, cool thing. I was seeing them around town as a fast way to get to information instead of typing in a long url – but you had to download a QR scanner app to your phone, and there were very few tools out there to create them. And then, they started to disappear.

Enter the pandemic-and the re-emergence. As everything went virtual, I started noticing those funky little QR codes popping up everywhere – advertisements, in church (“scan to find out more”), and eventually, in my students’ class presentations. When they wanted the class to play a game, use a collaborative tool such as slido or drive, or look at an article or website, they included a QR Code. They didn’t even bother with tiny url. Realizing that this was a way they preferred to get their information, at least in presentations, I started incorporating them as well.

How to create and access QR codes. Creating a QR code has become much more simple. There are many different tools available, but I use QR code Generator. You can make anything a QR code, such as text, a website, a picture, a link to a video, music. For this software, you put the website url, or whatever it is you want to create a QR code for into the box on the left, and before you know it, the program will generate a QR code on the right. At that point, I typically screenshot the box/code and then put it into my slide.

Accessing the QR code. Students with a smartphone can use the camera function and hold it up to the QR code, and the url will be suggested for them to click on and follow. Because not everyone has a smartphone, I also always include a tiny url, especially for a long website address. In the case below, I include the QR code, the original website (mostly to show it is a reputable source), and the tiny.url code.

Only time will tell if QR codes are here to stay, or just a passing fad. With creating and accessing them becoming such a hassle-free process, my bet is that they will be here for the long haul. Now, if we could just get some artists involved to make them prettier to look at, that would be awesome!